Going into the final bend, Michigan junior runner Rebecca Walter was just two steps behind Michigan State star freshman Danette Doetzel. As they headed into the blind turn, an announcement came over the public address system that Walter was back in the race. The flustered crowd looked up in amazement just in time to see Walter coming towards the finish line almost a second ahead of Doetzel. “I saved up my energy and ran smarter this race,” Walter said. “I was running with her until about 150 (meters) to go and I felt like I was pretty strong then. Coming off the final turn is where I made my final move.”Walter and Doetzel have been going head-to-head all season, including last weekend when Doetzel stole the Big Ten individual crown from Walter, who won it last year. On Saturday at Eagle Crest Golf Course in Ypsilanti, Walter rallied back and beat Doetzel out to win the NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet in 20:01.4 minutes. “It didn’t surprise me that she bounced back,” McGuire said. “Rebecca’s done some amazing things and will continue to do amazing things for us. She’s as amazing a competitor as we’ve ever had in our program. A great competitor gets back up off the deck and goes out and does what she did today.”Walter is not the only Wolverine who stepped it up on Saturday. Less than 45 seconds separated Walter from Michigan’s fifth runner, junior Katie Erdman (20:43.7). Erdman placed 15th, giving Michigan five top-15 scores to count for 40 points and a first place regional finish. Notre Dame finished second with 79 points, and Michigan State earned 85 points to finish third. McGuire was overjoyed with the team, which will compete in the NCAA Championships next Monday in Terre Haute, Ind.“That was as good a performance for seven people as we’ve ever had since I’ve been at Michigan,” McGuire said. “I could tell that we were in control of what we were doing. All seven of them had a very, very good day. I’m very, very fired up about them.”The biggest surprise for many was the third-place finish for freshman Alyson Kohlmeier. Kohlmeier — who finished seventh at the Big Ten Championships — has shown steady improvement all season and, according to McGuire, Saturday was the best he’d seen her run all season. “(At the end) I was waiting for the pace to pick up and for them to go flying by, but I just hung on,” Kohlmeier said. “We did run a really fast time, but I felt good and it was exciting just to be up there. That’s what kept me going.” Fifth-year senior Andrea Parker (20:20.9) placed eighth and senior Theresa Feldkamp (20:41.6) placed 13th to round out Michigan’s top-five finishers.“Andrea has just been steady in there all year competing hard and she had another great day,” McGuire said. “Feldkamp and Erdman were running really fast and solid together and picked some people off coming home.”Michigan felt that everything came together on Saturday. On a team with incredible talent and depth, everybody ran just a little bit faster and smarter. “Being able to fight the battle inside your head, if you’re able to win, that than your race is going to be amazing,” Parker said. “By staying with these girls and not giving up, you’re putting yourself in that much better of a position when you’re tired.”

 

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